Monday, 31 March 2014

What's your angle?

I have been doing a unit on angles. We have been looking at all different types of angles. From acute to vertically opposite, and supplementary to co–interior. 
In this particular activity, students were investigating the properties of angles associated with parallel lines.
They were asked to measure the angles and look for relationships between certain angles as guided by the instructions. I took this opportunity to conduct some informal assessment, by using an app called jungle geometry. While the students were busily engaged in a tactile experience measuring with their protractors, I asked them to measure an angle on my iPad. It gave me a good understanding of who needed further assistance with the use of the protractor.
I also used this activity to sort the students into groups. Each student received a card on their way into the room. Their goal was to find the rest of their group. Each group consisted of a term, its definition and a diagram. I like this activity as a good way to mix the students up a bit.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Answer Pad

I have been using The Answer Pad and its free student app TAPit in every lesson. The thing that I like the most about The Answer Pad is that I can set up my answer sheets and then provide my students with the questions in any format that I like. This is such an advantage for me, because Mathematics has fairly tricky notation, it is difficult to write questions in many apps, so this system removes this hurdle.

So, I have been projecting problems for my students to solve, and they enter their solutions using TAPit on their iPads, or via The Answer Pad on their laptops.  

The students get instant feedback once they turn in their solutions.

I especially like the Go Interactive sessions. It gives me a great opportunity to do assessment of and assessment for learning.

I can pose questions to my students and see their responses which I then use to guide my lessons.

To Conference or not to Conference.

My school has a great technical support team. Lead by an amazing man who has an extraordinary ability to see the big picture. His vision, was that every classroom would have an apple t.v. Now, because I am "special", I am fortunate to be one of the first to have an apple t.v. in my room.

So as you can imagine, I was so excited about the opportunities that apple t.v offered. This post is about the trials and tribulations of apple t.v. in a classroom setting.
I have an iPad and a Macbook Pro (I haven't updated to Mavericks yet) available to me for teaching purposes. Now, when I connected to the apple t.v. via airplay with my iPad, I could happily go along with my lesson. However, when I connected with my laptop, that's when the issues started. In a 50 minute lesson, the connection would drop out 6 or 7 times. I checked the settings on the apple t.v. and the sleep and screen saver options were not causing the issue. After the assistance of google and some forums I tried turning off conference room display in the airplay settings. This fixed the issue. I'm hoping that this post will help someone else if they are encountering the same issues, I'm loving having and being able to use apple t.v. in my room. 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Why My Asymptote?

I am a high school Mathematics teacher. I decided to start this blog as a way to document and share my experiences trying to provide opportunities for my students to become independent learners.

Being a Mathematics teacher, I regularly make reference to asymptotes. An asymptote is a line that a curve approaches as it heads towards infinity.

I particularly like the example below as a symbol of my journey as a teacher. The ever changing nature of education, has meant lots of changes of the path. However, the path is always heading towards the common goal, the asymptote. There has been many asymptotes in the journey, and many more to come, I'm sure. Underlying it all for me, is a desire to increase the love of Mathematics in my students.

I have been teaching long enough to see many initiatives come and go. I know all these initiatives are founded on an idea to help our students. Everyone who enters into education truly have a desire to help students become the best learners they can be. I am taking this opportunity to share my experiences, be it good or bad, as a way to motivate myself to improve my practises.

I work at a co–education Catholic high school. We have just under 1000 students. 2014 has marked the introduction of a 1-1 BYOD iPad program for year 7. We already have a 1-1 laptop program for years 10, 11 and 12.

At the start of this year, I had two really big goals. One was to integrate technology in a meaningful way into my lessons to increase engagement of my students. As a result of this engagement, I am hoping to increase the love of Mathematics in my students. The other was to go paperless (as much as you can in an educational organisation). 

Goal one is always going to be a challenge, hence the integration of technology is going to be another asymptote for me in this journey. This challenge will also be the bases for many posts I'm sure in the future.

Goal two, initially, I thought it was going to be much harder than it actually has been. If you really make a conscious effort not to use paper, it is amazing how easily you can come up with other alternatives. The biggest change I have made which has meant that I have been able to save on paper is by using google drive. I am able to share documents with my students electronically instead of using paper to print them out and my students are able to share their work with me via google drive also. This has been an easy transition for me, as the majority of my students have their own device, either an iPad or a laptop. This might be more difficult for others if your students don't have easy access to devices.